Sectors > Hospitality and Students

Hospitality and Students

Fluctuating occupancy levels coupled with irregular or long periods of inactivity create all kinds of Legionella control issues for sites offering short or long term accommodation. Nowadays, thanks to the noticeable usage of the internet, any bad press associated with Legionella issues have an extended online life and devastating effects.

Further information regarding Legionella within the Hospitality & Student Accommodation sector can be found here:


  • Rooms can be seasonally occupied meaning strict control measures must be adhered to in order to prevent stagnation.
  • Asthma sufferers are at higher risk.
  • Residents who smoke or who suffer from an existing chronic disease such as Diabetes or Heart disease have an increased risk.
  • Residents’ water outlets (i.e. showers) maybe used infrequently thus increasing the risk of bacteria proliferation.


  • Legislation that protect staff & the public must be complied with by all Hotels, Hospitality providers & Student Accommodation. These being: Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 & Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
  • Hotels, Hospitality providers and Student Accommodation must adhere to guidance supplied by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as laid out in the document now known as HSG274 Part 2. Previously this document was known as ACOP L8. There is also further guidance for Hotels, Hospitality providers & Student Accommodations that provide a spa-pool or Jacuzzi facility published by the HSE available here (HSG282).
  • All workplaces within the UK come under the Jurisdiction of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) which is the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety & illness at work. Its mission is to prevent death, injury and ill health in Great Britain’s workplaces. The HSE will inspect workplaces, especially those who have poor Health & Safety measures, operate in Hazardous industries or have had an incident.
  • Employers must report any case of Legionnaires’ that may have been caught at work to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). The duty to do this follows on from a doctor notifying the employer.

Repercussions for Failures

  • Expensive Court Cases.
  • Defamation and Bad Press.
  • Risk of death.
  • Huge Fines by the HSE.
  • ‘Special Measures’ enforcement.

Case Studies

The Feathers Hotel, Ludlow

A woman in her 60s contracted and died from Legionnaires Disease in 2017, another infection case from the same time period has since recovered. The hotel subsequently ‘Voluntarily closed’ on advice of health bosses whilst it tries to remedy the problem in September 2017 and reopened in Mid-November 2017 after the Public Health England gave them the all clear. An investigation into the death is still in early stages but is expected to be published in 2018.

Copthorne Hotel Cardiff

In 2005, the Council was found guilty in Court of a flawed Legionella control scheme which caused seven guests to become infected with Legionnaires disease, two of whom later died. The bacteria was spread by an incorrectly installed humidifier in a buffet unit that was installed in the dining area. They were subsequently fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 costs. The supplier of the unit was also fined £7,500 with £2,500 in costs.

‘Freshers Flu vs Pontiac Fever’

The well documented ‘freshers flu’ as us British like to call it is every students nightmare at the beginning of an academic year. For many years the cause for ‘freshers flu’ has been widely unknown with many theories being put forward. Considering the lengthy time water sits during the vacant summer months, is it reasonable to assume stagnant (full of bacteria) water could have something to do with it?


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